Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The daughter from my darkness

It was when my son, our first, was around 18 months old that in a casual conversation with a friend, who also happened to be a licensed marriage and family therapist, there was the mention that it sounded like I had had postpartum depression when my son was a baby. It was a lightbulb moment. That would explain the emptiness. That would explain the wanting to scream out when people asked me how much I love my new job as a mommy. That would explain my lack of response to him when he cried.

If you know a little about postpartum there is a little known statistic. Women who suffer from it have a 20-60% chance of having it again. I had heard very little about postpartum, but this friend of mine made me aware of the possibility when I was pregnant with my daughter Cora, my second. I was aware, but not concerned. We wanted both of these pregnancies. We were excited to be having a daughter. We were prepared for all of this. (Unlike the next two pregnancies. But that is another story. Kinda.) It wasn't really on my radar.

Cora was born on September 15, 2011 and her birth was fast and furious to say the least. I went in wanting an epidural because they are the best thing this side of heaven. However, I was too far progressed and only an hour and twenty mins from arriving at the hospital she was born. All natural. I felt all the things. And then I didn't anymore and I ate a chick-fil-a sandwich. It was great. We were so in love with her. Until she was crazy hard to nurse and comfort that night. It was so much harder than my son. But, we had done this once and I had a great helper (my hubby) and a wonderful night nurse. She might as well as set up a cot in my room because we needed her all night long.

The next day I had a not very nice day nurse. A situation happened when Cora got too hot and she scolded me big time. Feelings and emotions flood me even still remembering the shame she poured out on me when she was fanning my naked baby in her bassinet. It was that moment I was lost. The part of me in my soul that felt confident in my ability to take care of my child. The part of me who knew it was all going to work out. The part of me who wanted to do this because I loved my baby. Lost. A wave of anxiety crashed on to me that moment and I was lost in the sea of depression and anxiety.

The evenings were the hardest. The darkness almost proclaimed my weakness. I was afraid. I was afraid of being with her. I was struggling to even have a nurturing thought. My real prayer dear friends, was that she would die of sids so I would never have to take care of her and we could go back to being where I felt safe. My mind was a dark, deep pit of anguish. I was lost in a labyrinth of anger, hurt, fear, and overwhelming feelings. I remember trying so hard to rock her but would find myself angry just at her sweet cry. I would pray so hard that the Lord take my anger from my hands.

At the one week mark my loving and supportive husband had a very serious talk with me. Get help, or I will take the kids. It jolted me. I talked to my friend again and we did some different things to help level my hormones out and get me calm. I started meeting with my mentor and I stopped trying to do it all. I let my husband help me with feedings and the two of them bonded the way she and I should have. Which is still so present to this day. He was the one comforting her, not me. He was the one soothing her and singing to her, calming her and loving her. Because, I couldn't. She grew and I grew little by little in my ability to cope and take care of her and our son.

I wish with all my heart I could say that was the end of our journey, she and I.  I had just started to like her in December of 2011, when I found I was pregnant with her sister. I was devastated. How in the world would I survive this again? I was just thrust back into the depression and heartbreak. I was now thrust into crazy. Just pure crazy. People would ask if I was excited, saying how great of sisters they will be. I would just say no. I wasn't kidding either. I didn't want this. I was again, lost.

The thing about my postpartum and anxiety is that it didn't allow me to bond with my daughter at the most crucial moments. For the next three years I struggled hard with my anger towards her. Just her. If all the kids were acting out, she bore the burden. If I was brushing her hair, I had this bizarre subconscious desire to pull her hair and hurt her. My anger flew when she was around. I snapped, I was harsh, I was not loving. I was everything I did not want to be to her. I will lament those years and moments and actions for the rest of my life. She did not deserve the mother that I was. She did nothing to deserve the anger that rained down on her. Especially when I had her youngest sister, Anne in 2014 and wrestled my demons yet again. This disease was like an old familiar friend. Three out of my four pregnancies I struggled. Deep. Deep struggle.

It's been four years since she was born. I would like to tell you I am cured. Our youngest is just now 18 months old. The truth is I still struggle some days. But, some days I don't. Those days are nice.

However, I have noticed in just the short few months leading up to her turning four that there has been a beautiful softening of my heart towards her. Maybe it's the fact that she's coming out of being a raging threenager. Her reign of terror is done and she has so effectively passed the torch to her younger sister. She is so sweet all the sudden. I find I have these feelings of motherly love towards her. Feelings that make me want to hug her for hours. I want to bond with her again. I haven't pushed her away when she wants to snuggle me for the first time in four years. I actually like her. Genuinely like her for the first time in her life. Let the weight of that sit on your soul. I actually like my daughter for the first time in her four years on this earth and in our home.

I know that I can not fix what I have done while my world was dark. I do not want to ever forget the sting of those years. It has shaped and defined who I am and where my passion lies as an adult. However, I can move forward in today. I can see the grace of love working to shine glimmers of light into the dark places. Peace being given to me by myself and those in my world, helping to break down the walls. Allowing myself to own the darkness, and speak of it. To grieve who I was, but realize it is not who I am. I am not defined by this. This is just where I am at. Where I was at. Where I am walking away from.

We will forever have a bumpy start to our story, she and I. I am excited to see where it leads. She is the daughter from my darkness. And ours is a fierce story to tell.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Fight

I argued with myself the other day. And when I say, "with myself" I mean with Hazel. This child. This child who I am so smitten with has become one of those creatures not unlike Gollum from Lord of the Rings. I think she spends more of her day writhing around on the floor, or her bed, or the timeout spot than she does walking upright. She is like a werewolf while it's going through the change. It's ugly. Loud. Somewhat entertaining. And utter nonsense. 

I almost always have no idea what has caused the episode. Because we mom's never know. Not really. There could be something that set them off, but half the time, let's be honest, they don't even know!

Really, it could be about anything. Like, eating or not eating, wearing clothes or not wearing clothes, going outside or staying inside, I said yes or I said no, I offered her a snack or a toy or the moon. It is all nonsense.

This particular moment was brought to you by bed time. Ahh yes. The most anticipated and equally dreaded moment in all of motherhood. I long for bed time. I think about it and sing, "it's the most wonderful time of the day" in my head while we are making our way to bed time. YET! Each and every day my children, and all children I assume, are taken by surprise that we must go to bed again. WHAT???? You must be crazy to make me go to bed again!! Yes, child. If you didn't know already I am crazy. Because of you and your special toddler crazy. Anywho. The fight.

I may or may not have been in a particularly feisty mood, which may or may not have made me prone to go toe to toe with my crazy ass toddler in her crazy ass tantrums. Not the best mix for bedtime.
Daddy gave them a bath and I took Hazel to get dressed. This was our conversation...

For the best understanding, try to read Hazel's responses with as much toddler attitude that you can. Because it was all that. Nothing but attitude. And maybe mine too.

Me: Okay Hazel, go pick out your pjs.
H: No. I'm not gonna wear that. I'm gonna wear my tank top.
Me: You can't wear your tank top it's dirty from today.
H: NOOOO! I'm gonna wear my tank. top.
M: Sorry babe. You can't. You are going to wear pjs. It's what we wear to bed.
(Long Pause= toddler is pondering her rebuttal)
H: I'm gonna tell my daddy on you.
M: Fine. I don't care. GO tell him.
H: I am! I am gonna tell MY! DADDY! ON! YOU!

She goes to the bathroom and tattles on me to Brent who has no idea what's going on and asks why she is still naked. Cue huge eye roll from me.

Me: Hazel! Out of the bathroom. You are getting dressed.
H: NO. NO. I am not. I'm wearing my tank. top.

We are now in the middle of the hallway straight up yelling at each other. While the husband goes about his business doing bath time.

M: You can't tattle on mommy. It doesn't work. Daddy is on my side. You are going to wear pjs!!
H: No. I won't. I won't. I am wearing my tank. top.
M: I don't care anymore. You are going to wear pjs or go to bed naked.
H: I gonna tell my dada.
M: No you aren't. NO YOU AREN'T.
H: I. AM.
M: Hazel. You don't have a choice. You are going to go to bed right now.
H: No I am not. I gonna tell my dada. You not my mom. I wear my tank. top.
M: HAZEL! You are not wearing that tank top. You are going to be naked then.

I walk her into her room while she writhes and screams. I dress her while she writhes and screams. I put her into her bed, while she writhes and screams. And then I walk out. While she writhes and screams.

I think when your baby turns two you should be given a strait jacket, ear plugs and a bottle of tequila as a gift from the whomever. Doctor. Community. God. Fellow mom's. I don't know. But what I do know is I have actually worn ear plugs while doing bed time because my ear drums are threatening to quit on me if I don't.

It's these special moments that just make me love motherhood. Said with all the sarcasm in the world. Really, these moments are hilarious in hind site. I love a good story and by golly we have a lot of them. Especially thanks to a spirited crazy little blonde girl I know. More to follow I'm sure. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dreaming Big

I haven't written in a while. All the usual reasons. My inability to sit down and commit to consistently writing on this small space of the internet that I call my own seems to punctuate my problems with consistency in general. I struggle with it so hard. The oils trend is super fun, and I have seen it work wonders. When I am consistent. Dieting is going so well, until I hurt my foot and couldn't do any sort of impact physical activity. Consistency went down the drain. What is it about the human spirit and that once we take a moment to step out of the rodent wheel we choose or find ourselves in that we can not seem to get back on?!


I am writing every morning. Every morning I rise early before my small people to have a single (or if I'm extra lucky two) hot cup of coffee. NOT. MICROWAVED. All my moms just completely nodded their head yes in agreement that that is the best thing ever. Almost as good as all the kids taking a nap at the same time and getting to watch one of your shows on netflix. What? You don't want to watch a mother episode of Ninjago? or Octonauts? or Miles from Tomorrowland?

When I rise for my morning dose of legal addictive stimulates I also sit outside. I enjoy the quiet and cool of the morning. I am alone with my thoughts. My hurts. My joys. My fears. My deep heart murmuring of my soul. My ideas. My journal has become this way of getting so much out so I can have room to breathe in and fill the empty spaces with breath and not burden. I have found so much of a gift in this time.

My morning time is one of the best parts of my day. One that my husband calls me crazy for doing, but I'm crazy for lots of reasons so I don't know why he bothers. I would like to hope that I could find myself in front of the computer a few of these mornings and to share my thoughts and dreams and deep hurts that come from a mamas heart with you lovely people.

We shall have to see how it goes. I know many bloggers and writers alike devote specific time of their day to sit, uninterrupted and write. I want to write. I want to inspire. To share a gift. I love sharing my life, my story and my struggles with others. It is freeing to me. It also allows me to give freedom to others. There have been many moments where a mama struggling with the weighted guilt of depression has thanked me for being the one to be vulnerable first. That is worth all the cups of coffee in the world. I want someday to be able to share my ever evolving story with women on a grander scale. I know those in my small world hear me talk often of the need for unity and transparency in motherhood. But, I am serious ladies. We have to find a way to become allies and all realize we have no clue what we are doing. But we all hope with every ounce of our soul we are doing it right. And, there are a lot of us who are desperately trying to find a way to even like what we are being called to let alone able to worry about doing it "right."

This is a journey and I'm trying to dream big. Trying to not become overwhelmed by my perceived bigness of the small things. And, right now. As I am typing my biggest comes and says he wants to do something with me. This blog could be bigger to me in this moment, but in actuality it is small. The time he WANTS to spend with me is big. Bigger than ever reaching 100s of women some day. He. Is most important. Reaching him is big. So, thats all for today.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Well hello there...

Sorry for the radio silence. You know how it is, and you know my excuses. There are four of them. They are cute, sometimes, and love to attract germs. Because they hate me. We've been sick a week and a half out of every four to five weeks.


Someone send in the CDC because they've got the plague or ebola or something. I just need them to take a pill. Usually a chill pill would be nice but in this case a get-rid-of-all-the-germs pill would be fantastic. I'll take six to go please.

None the less. Excuses excuses.

I've been finding myself, and my husband too, struggling to enjoy parenthood. I know. SHOCKER.
But, really! It's unbelievable how in the same moment I feel so much love for them that it can consume my whole soul down to my toes, I can also want to give them to a complete stranger and just walk away.

We were the side show, as we often are, at dinner tonight. Surprisingly enough they are almost well behaved at a restaurant. It's like playing Russian roulette with whether the waiter will spit in our food because our kids are being that bad. I keep hoping someone will see us, they will be taken back to the days when they have kids and then feel compelled to pay for our bill. You know like you see everywhere except for the places we eat at. Rather we find ourselves the center of attention and people like to literally point out how many times we've gone to the bathroom in respect to how many bites of my pizza I've gotten to take. The scales are definitely tipped on that one.

Hazel is finally potty trained. I don't say finally as if I should have done that long ago. No, no dear new mom. Do not think you are a failure if you haven't potty trained your 2 1/2 year old already. Because as if you don't have enough to do. I finally gave in to her begging to go on the toilet. She would say, "I need to go potty!" And, I'm all, "Great. You have a diaper on." {Insert annoyed face emoticon}

But, I finally gave in and she's doing awesome. Minus the "I have to go PEEP!" statements every 10 mins. 'Peep' in Hazelspeak is potty. It's one of my favorite things. That and 'farkle' (sparkle) and 'barilla' (umbrella) and so many other speech impediments I never want changed. Ever. I don't care if they go to college and sound ridiculous, I will love them. She pretty much lives life at a 10 at all times. Which. I LOVE. Obviously.

There are these wonderful, amazing, strait from heaven women who watch Hazel for me almost twice a week at the childcare where my bible study is. I swear to you every time they watch her they earn a jewel in their crown. I'm serious. They are saints. SAINTS I tell you. What's so wonderful about these women is they never once let me feel burdened or guilty that my daughter basically owns that toddler room. I mean, I'm totes proud of her for not taking smack from anyone. Except for her teachers. But, if I were to instill a character train in my girls confidence would be one I wouldn't need to worry about with her. They love her and I love them for loving her. She is the spunky crazy girl in the room full of boys and it doesn't phase her at all. I'll ask how her day was. Their response, "Don't worry about it." So basically it was a disaster. Cool. Thank you for not making me feel bad about it.

The funny and it's so crazy it's funny kind of moments are great. Easy to deal with actually. Even when they are all screaming at me I can laugh and let it roll off my back. But, when they are all whining. I loose my mind. I am completely annoyed by them and their inability to get their act together and talk to me like a normal human being. Because other peoples kids do that so I lead myself to believe. I complain internally and sadly out loud. I was commenting to my husband how our kids childhood will be filled with memories of me busting out in song all the time. Then he looks at me with that look like, "...and..." And me yelling all the time. Oh. Yeah. About that. Then, Cora says from the back row, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW!" Cue laughter and then hanging my head in shame.

It's true. The neighbors know. They've heard it. But the yelling, I don't know if that's the worst part.

Because I apologize usually right away for that. The complaining. I don't apologize for. Almost never.
I was thinking to myself, what does the ratio of complaining vs. saying I love you look like in my day to day. Sad to say. It's shockingly out of order. I know this hard season of ours will look so different even a short six months from now. But, the reality is that they are children and we are children too. I need to be taught and raised just as much as they do. Taught to cherish and hold onto the glorious self revealing and hilarious moments. But also the not so glorious self revealing and hard moments. Moments where I watch them succeed in something I've tried so hard to teach them. Like the fact that Laine get's an outstanding on his report card in the area of 'demonstrates respect.' I couldn't be prouder of him. Or the not so proud moments when I hear them speak so harshly to one another, because that's how I demonstrate it to them.

They say you never stop learning. Well, whoever "they" are must have had kids. I've learned so much about myself and all that I try to ignore about myself. I've also learned so much about the strength in me. The hard I can walk through. The things that I can and want to feel burdened by. The simplicity I want to see in my lives and the childhood I want my children to have. Who I want to be. Who I refuse to be.

Who I will try every single day to represent to my small people. They are mirrors of ourselves in tiny uncontrolled forms. They say with no fear of judgement what their heart feels. They act on their feelings with passion and there is so much beauty in that. I want them to always feel they can say and express what is in there. That I will see its beauty and it's purpose. I will cherish it and them for it. They are a beautiful gift. Wrapped up in a tiny narcissistic bi-polar anarchist little adorable body.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


It felt nice. The weight of the baby on my chest tonight. The weight of a dreamer who is in four weeks going to be the reason we celebrate the last first birthday.

Rocking was never something I was comfortable with. I was constantly told, as with many moms, not to spoil my babies by rocking them or letting them sleep on your chest. I wish I hadn't ever listened before. Now that I am a veteran mom I know how to separate and accept what I am willing to listen to and let other things go. I love rocking that little girl after her late night bottle. She just sleeps and I have perfect access to my favorite spot. Her forehead. 

Her forehead smells better than anything on this planet. I love rocking her, feeling her breathe and just inhaling her scent. It's intoxicating. It's relaxing. It's something I need to do more often. 

The weight of her body completely relaxed pressing. Against mine, knowing I have her safely in my arms. I love doing this. It's something I feel calms me and brings me to center with them. I should rock all of them. All the weight of motherhood just resting against me. Us connecting. Knowing we are okay. 

It's funny though that the weight of motherhood can become so heavy when we don't see the weight as a gift. It's a job no doubt. A job that probably means more to the world than any other. The weight of our responsibility shapes generations. And periodically, okay frequently, I resent that weight. 

I don't want to do it any more. Carry it. I don't want to feel the pressure against me. My shoulders are sore. My feet ache. But. I go on. Because that's what we do.

I also change my perspective. It's interesting that on my terms I love and soak up any snuggle opportunities. Yet. At two in the morning I am frustrated, annoyed, and cold to my kids that need me. The weight of their bodies has not changed. I have. My view. My value of their weight. Changed. 

I have a task set before me. Change my view of it. Change the way I see it all. Because, they are the same each day. They are the same kids with the same issues. It's my view of it and it's impact on my life and my day and my wants and my selfishness are what change. That's a hard home to grow up in. Never knowing who you will get. The mom who loves to give and serve. Or, the mom who is annoyed you even exist. 

I am striving to appreciate the weight that's been assigned to me. Eager to thrive and enjoy it. Each day is a beautiful gift with them. They are funny and curious and joyful. I am so grateful for them. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...